The Strange Tale Of Malcolm Caldwell

In the good old days of the cold war, it was relatively easy to pick your camp, the Capitalist West, or the Communist East, and of course, in both these camps, you had dissenters.

Those fighting for freedom in the Eastern Bloc tend to be more well known, but it should be remembered that there was still a huge communist movement in the west (Italy and France being prime examples), as well as people referred to as fellow travelers (communists without the cards), and “useful idiots”, those that did the bidding unwittingly of their communist overlords. We introduce Malcolm Caldwell.

Who was Malcolm Caldwell?

Caldwell was a history lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) a major player in the Anti-Vietnamese war movement, a chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and overall good old fashioned leftist.

And this is what led him to be a supporter of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. It might look easy with hindsight to see this as ridiculous, but at the time the Khmer Rouge appeared to be a populist movement that had overthrown an American puppet regime and would bring peace to Cambodia. Obviously this was not to be the case….

To read more about Pol Pot.

It should be remembered that during this time and until the reunification of Vietnam, the youth and neo-left staunchly supported North Vietnam, and thus the movements in Laos and Cambodia were seen at the time in the same light.

The start of the Killing Fields

After “liberating” Phnom Penh it did not take long for the Khmer Rouge to begin their savage rule of the country and indeed it was not long before news of this spread to the outside world. Democratic Kampuchea though was aligned with Maoism and China, so was staunchly supported by this part of the left through groups such as “hands off Democratic Kampuchea”, even after their overthrow by the Vietnamese.

In this context and despite the numerous reports of atrocities a small minority of western revolutionaries believed the rumors to be a fabrication. One of these men was Malcolm Caldwell.

How did Caldwell manage to visit Democratic Kampuchea?

Three days before Christmas in 1978 Malcolm Caldwell received quite the gift, he would be treated to a 2 week tour of Democratic Kampuchea, whereby he could see the revolution for himself, but even more importantly get to meet the almost unknown enigma that was Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge.

How did Caldwell manage to orange a trip to Cambodia and a meeting with Pol Pot? Well the reasons for this are myriad, but essentially he was a respected academic and a strong friend of China. China at the time being the only ally of Socialist Democratic Kampuchea. Also as news of how repressive the regime in Phnom Penh had become many former supporters in the west had put a distance between themselves and the Khmer Rouge, Caldwell on the other hand had been one of the few people to offer his support unwaveringly.

The trip to Cambodia

Travelling with Caldwell were two American journalists, Elizabeth Becker and Richard Dudman. Becker had been a foreign reporter in Phnom Penh during the civil war and had spoken to numerous refugees. She and Caldwell argued constantly, with Caldwell right to the end defending the regime.

With Dudman and Becker, Caldwell was escorted around the country to a series of staged scenes, perhaps analogous to what people perceive a tour to North Korea to be like. Becker being a journalist grew combative with her hosts, asking to see more. Caldwell on the other hand was an old hand at visiting communist countries and was not bothered by the whole PR element to things and in fact concentrated more on hanging about in the car and making friends with his hosts.

Following the publicity trip, the group was taken to a guesthouse in the now deserted ghost town of Phnom Penh, ironically located not all that far from the.

Meeting Pol Pot

Caldwell believed that the world was looming towards a complete famine and that the only way to survive was for countries to be self-sustainable. On the outside at least this was the same views as those held by Pol Pot, with the stark irony of the famine that he caused not withstanding.

Following the meeting Caldwell returned to the guesthouse he was haring with the two American journalists and did nothing but praise the Khmer Rouge leader and his policies, whilst avoiding any discussion about the souring relations with Vietnam at the time.

The strange end to the trip

That night they ate dinner together with Caldwell and Becker arguing late into the night about their interpretations of the Cambodian revolution. Caldwell unsurprisingly being in the favorable side, fate it would appear was not without a sense of irony on this one.

At around 1 am Becker and Dudman were woken by loud noises and after looking out of their window and seeing soldiers Dudman briefly went to the room of Caldwell for a chat before hiding back in his room. From there a gunshot was heard and the American journalists were informed that Caldwell, the worlds foremost supporter of the Khmer Rouge had been shot dead.

Why was Caldwell killed?

This is where the intrigue kicks in. The four guards assigned to guard the foreigners were duly arrested and “confessed” to being Vietnamese agents who had killed Caldwell due to his support for the Khmer Rouge. Of course they were duly executed at S-21, but the story was an absolute hoax.

Why was Caldwell really killed then?

Caldwell’s brother, David, wrote a letter to the Guardian, expressing his belief that “Mal” had “discovered the truth about the Pol Pot regime” but “dared not admit this to either Becker or Dudman”. Although as per the testimony of the two American journalists this seems extremely unlikely. Whilst Caldwell did not deserve to meet his grisely fate he was undoubtedly a dyed in the red commie until the bitter bitter end.

So, in reality no one really knows why he was killed, but the most rational explanation as per Becker is that “It was crazy. Crazy. Malcolm’s murder was no less rational than the tens of thousands of other murders.”.

It is thus summarized that Pol Pot ordered his murder in some twisted plot to try and make the Vietnamese look bad, and perhaps from paranoia about his meeting with the left-wing Scotsman.

The sad fact is that until that bullet killed him Malcolm Caldwell was a dedicated Pol Potist.

Tips On How Much To Drink


Tips On How Much To Drink

A drink is basically a liquid designed for drinking. It contains no nutrients or vitamins but instead contains calories, carbohydrates, proteins, and other elements. Many beverages also serve as a beverage substitute with sugar added. Drinks play a major role in human nutrition, especially for people who are not able to get enough nutrients through their diet. In fact, a wide variety of beverages are available in the market today.

There are two verbs that describe drinks: to drink and to imbibe. The verb to drink implies that a substance is being imbibed while the verb of imbibe implies that the substance is being inhaled or absorbed into the body. Other words for drinks include a cup, potion, brew, punch, wine, gin, ale, malt, brandy, whiskey, cider and liqueur. Many popular brands of beverages that are readily available in the market include Americanos, Vodkas, Daiquiris, Margaritas, Mimosas, Cokes, Coffee, Hot chocolate, and sodas such as Fanta, Fruit Cola and Tonic Water. Common types of alcoholic drinks include beer, wine, vodka, whiskey, champagne and port.

A number of terms exist to describe when a drink is consumed. One of these is the traditional notion of a “dive” or “bitter” drink. Many countries across the world have their own particular names for when a drink is drunk. For example, in the United Kingdom, a “bed drink” is known as “bed ale” and in Australia, a “smoothy” is called a “sour”. In the United States, however, a drink that contains alcohol is commonly referred to as simply a “drink” and “intake”.

An average person usually only consumes one or two alcoholic drinks during his lifetime. However, many individuals can consume as many as five drinks at once. Those who regularly consume a lot of alcohol will most likely experience the following complications: high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, damage to the brain, and intestinal obstruction. If an individual often consumes too much alcohol, his blood sugar level can become dangerously high which can lead to coma or hypoglycemia. High blood pressure can result in heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. When the sugar level in the blood rises, it can create a toxic build-up in the arteries, which eventually can cause the heart to fail.

Some suggest that one standard drink contains about 18 ounces of pure alcohol. There are a wide range of other drinks which may be considered a pure alcohol drink, including sherry, gin, vodka, brandy, tequila, rum, triple sec, Jack-of-all-trades, liqueurs, tequilas, and mixed drinks such as jalapeno margaritas. Most bartenders will keep a variety of these drinks on hand, so customers can choose what they want without having to order it from a bartender. Other pure alcohol beverages which are sold in bars are coconut water, lime juice, coconut milk, pineapple, mint juleps, and punch. One should also be aware that some health food stores, grocery stores, and even convenience marts have organic and natural juices and sodas as well as other snack foods.

A number of studies have been conducted in order to determine whether consuming too much alcohol affects the body’s ability to function properly and how much alcohol it takes to make someone tipsy. These studies have shown that people who regularly drink many different drinks have much more severe symptoms of intoxication than those who only drink one standard drink. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that anyone who regularly consumes any amount of alcohol should avoid driving or operating machinery while under the influence.

Alternate Histories – could the Khmer Rouge have made Cambodia a powerhouse?

Could the Khmer Rouge have made Cambodia a powerhouse?

This is a story about alternate histories, not a positive position on the Khmer Rouge. Yet what might have happened if this internationally recognized government had remained in power? Could the Khmer Rouge have made Cambodia a powerhouse?

The Vietnamese invasion

When the Vietnamese invaded the Kampuchean government asked and assumed their sponsor, the Peoples Republic of China would support them. The Chinese suggested negotiations, which the Khmer Rouge flatly ignored, and the rest is history.

But lets say the Khmer Rouge backed down and with the promise of military support from China the Vietnamese agreed to a a peace treaty. The Khmer Rouge stay in power, and the Killing Fields continue.


With news quickly spreading about how bad the killing fields are the Chinese intervene and there is coup whereby Pol Pot is replaced as leader by the relatively liberal and internationally accepted Khieu Samphan. Samphan is seen as a Deng Xiaoping style reformer.


Khieu Samphan admits to the mistakes of the previous regime and allows for the re-population of the cities, the experiment with extreme socialism is over. In 1985 Sihanouk is allowed to return as head of state, being given the ceremonial title of President-for Life.


Cambodia begins to adopt Chinese style economic reforms, called Socialism with Kampuchean characteristics.


As the Eastern-Bloc starts to disintegrate there are protests in Phnom Penh that are brutally repressed, the Khmer Rouge still favor a one party state.


Due to ti its early opening of its economy and intense Chinese investment Democratic Kampuchea becomes one of the Asian tiger economies.


The government apologies for the excesses of the former regime, with there being show trials for junior members of the Khmer Rouge, but with the leadership remaining blameless.

The present time

Democratic Kampuchea is at a similar economic and development level with China, there are high speed trains and the like, and it is run by the second generation family members of the Khmer Rouge regime. There are museums throughout the country celebrating the victory over America and the achievements of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.

Khieu Samphan is seen as a great leader on par with Deng Xiaoping….

Could the Khmer Rouge have made Cambodia a powerhouse? Of course no one will eer know what could have been.